If one examines the history of the period between 1855 and 1932, when the Lloyd Barrage (Presently called Sukkur Barrage, was opened general impression gained is one of a battle between two rival, Schools of thought, those who relied upon inundation canals as the answer to Sindh, Irrigation problem and those who took the wider view that the only satisfactory long term solution was perennial water brought onto as much of the land as could be irrigated,. After construction of Sukkur Barrage in 1932, a large portion of virgin land in the lower Sindh area was left to be irrigated by assured water supply. This land was being irrigated by the inundation canals. The success of perennial irrigation system, which emerged after the construction of Sukkur Barrage, necessitated the construction of another Barrage in the Lower Sindh area, which was left-out from the command of Sukkur Barrage Project. This initiated the construction of Kotri Barrage (at that time called Ghulam Muhammad Barrage).
The Kotri Barrage near Hyderabad, is the biggest Irrigation project under taken after the creation of Pakistan. The entire rural economy of Hyderabad and Karachi Division infact hinges on its canal Irrigation system. Kotri Barrage open new vistas of a prosperous life and fulfill many essential needs in diverse field of our agriculture economy. It is also a source of assured water supply for the Metropolitan City of Karachi.
The foundation stone of this Barrage was laid on 12th February 1950 and it was formally opened on 5th June 1955 by the then Governor of Pakistan, Mr. Ghulam Muhammad, and the Barrage named after him as Ghulam Muhammad Barrage. Later on in 1970’s the Barrage was re-named as KOTRI BARRAGE.
The need to release some amount of water below Kotri Barrage, which is the last diversion point on the Indus River System, has been recognized by most experts. The purpose is to provide the sailaba (flood) Irrigation in an area of approximately 120, 000 hectares and keep the 280-kilometer Indus River Reach from the Kotri Barrage to the Arabian Sea, alive. Furthermore, any amount of water released below Kotri would help in checking seawater intrusion..